Exclusives

The Best Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books of August 2018

 

Pic: Pixabay (CC0)

Looking for something to read? Here’s our guide to the best and biggest science fiction and fantasy books of the month — plus a little bit more!

  • The cover of the book Bad Man

    Bad Man

    A Novel

    They say you’ve got only a couple days to find a missing person. Forty-eight hours to conduct searches, knock on doors, and talk to witnesses. Two days to tear the world apart if there’s any chance of putting yours back together. That’s your window. That window closed five years ago, leaving Ben’s life in ruins. He still looks for his brother. Still searches, while his stepmother sits and waits and whispers for Eric, refusing to leave the house that Ben’s father can no longer afford. Now twenty and desperate for work, Ben takes a night stock job at the only place that will have him: the store that blinked Eric out of existence. (8/7)

     
  • The cover of the book Serpentine

    Serpentine

    A remote Florida island is the perfect wedding destination for the upcoming nuptials of Anita’s fellow U.S. Marshal and best friend Edward. For Anita, the vacation is a welcome break, as it’s the first trip she gets to take with just wereleopards Micah and Nathaniel. But it’s not all fun and games and bachelor parties… In this tropical paradise Micah discovers a horrific new form of lycanthropy, one that has afflicted a single family for generations. Believed to be the result of an ancient Greek curse, it turns human bodies into a mass of snakes. (8/7)

     
  • The cover of the book Catwoman: Soulstealer

    Catwoman: Soulstealer

    Two years after escaping Gotham City’s slums, Selina Kyle returns as the mysterious and wealthy Holly Vanderhees. She quickly discovers that with Batman off on a vital mission, Gotham City looks ripe for the taking. Meanwhile, Luke Fox wants to prove that as Batwing he has what it takes to help people. He targets a new thief on the prowl who has teamed up with Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn. Together, they are wreaking havoc. This Catwoman is clever–she may be Batwing’s undoing. (8/7)

     
  • The cover of the book Gift of Griffins

    Gift of Griffins

    Kerida Nast and her companions have succeeded in finding Jerek Brightwing, the new Luqs of Farama, and uniting him with a part of his Battle Wings, but not all their problems have been solved. Farama is still in the hands of the Halian invaders and their Shekayrin, and it’s going to take magical as well as military strength to overcome them. Unexpected help comes from Bakura, the Princess Imperial of the Halians, whose Gifts have been suppressed.  As the Voice of her brother the Sky Emperor she has some political power over the Halian military, and she will use it to aid the Faramans, if Kerida can free her from what she sees as a prison. But whether Kerida can help the princess remains to be seen. If she succeeds, Bakura may prove their salvation. But should Kerida fail, all may be lost…. (8/7)

     
  • The cover of the book The Point

    The Point

    Welcome to The Point, future leaders of the Posthuman Age. New Cadets, society is not ready for you. The oldest, fiercest fear is ignorance. The general population would burn you at the metaphorical stake. Here, you will train alongside other posthumans. You will learn to control and maximize your powers and to use them for the greater good. You will discover camaraderie and purpose. You will become a part of something bigger than yourselves: the Long Gray Line. (8/7)

     
  • The cover of the book Privateer

    Privateer

    The swashbuckling adventures of Captain Kate Fitzmaurice continues in Privateer with another thrilling epic tale of the Dragon Corsairs from New York Times bestselling author Margaret Weis and Robert Krammes. Captain Kate soon escapes from prison and saves her crew with the help of Prince Tom. She and her crew are drawn ever deeper into the intrigue and danger of doing business in the kingdom. With them running out of allies and left with nowhere to turn, Kate and Tom strike out on their own. (8/7)

     
  • The cover of the book Rogue Protocol

    Rogue Protocol

    Sci-fi’s favorite antisocial A.I. is back on a mission. The case against the too-big-to-fail GrayCris Corporation is floundering, and more importantly, authorities are beginning to ask more questions about where Dr. Mensah’s SecUnit is. And Murderbot would rather those questions went away. For good. (8/7)

     
  • The cover of the book Temper

    Temper

    Two brothers. Seven vices. One demonic possession.Can this relationship survive? Auben Mutze has more vices than he can deal with—six to be exact—each branded down his arm for all the world to see. They mark him as a lesser twin in society, as inferior, but there’s no way he’ll let that define him. Intelligent and outgoing, Auben’s spirited antics make him popular among the other students at his underprivileged high school. So what if he’s envious of his twin Kasim, whose single vice brand is a ticket to a better life, one that likely won’t involve Auben. (8/7)

     
  • The cover of the book Through Two Doors at Once

    Through Two Doors at Once

    The Elegant Experiment That Captures the Enigma of Our Quantum Reality

    Richard Feynman held that the double slit embodies the central mystery of the quantum world. Decade after decade, hypothesis after hypothesis, scientists have returned to this ingenious experiment to help them answer deeper and deeper questions about the fabric of the universe. How can a single particle behave both like a particle and a wave? Does a particle exist before we look at it, or does the very act of looking create reality? Are there hidden aspects to reality missing from the orthodox view of quantum physics? Is there a place where the quantum world ends and the familiar classical world of our daily lives begins, and if so, can we find it? And if there’s no such place, then does the universe split into two each time a particle goes through the double slit? (8/7)

     
  • The cover of the book Ticker

    Ticker

    The Quest to Create an Artificial Heart

    Part investigative journalism, part medical mystery, Ticker is a dazzling story of modern innovation, recounting fifty years of false starts, abysmal failures and miraculous triumphs, as experienced by one the world’s foremost heart surgeons, O.H. “Bud” Frazier, who has given his life to saving the un-savable. His journey takes him from a small town in west Texas to one of the country’s most prestigious medical institutions, The Texas Heart Institute, from the halls of Congress to the animal laboratories where calves are fitted with new heart designs. The roadblocks to success —medical setbacks, technological shortcomings, government regulations – are immense. Still, Bud and his associates persist, finding inspiration in the unlikeliest of places. A field beside the Nile irrigated by an Archimedes screw. A hardware store in Brisbane, Australia. A seedy bar on the wrong side of Houston. (8/7) 

     
  • The cover of the book The World in a Grain

    The World in a Grain

    The Story of Sand and How It Transformed Civilization

    After water and air, sand is the natural resource that we consume more than any other–even more than oil. Every concrete building and paved road on Earth, every computer screen and silicon chip, is made from sand. From Egypt’s pyramids to the Hubble telescope, from the world’s tallest skyscraper to the sidewalk below it, from Chartres’ stained-glass windows to your iPhone, sand shelters us, empowers us, engages us, and inspires us. It’s the ingredient that makes possible our cities, our science, our lives–and our future. And, incredibly, we’re running out of it. (8/7)

     
  • The cover of the book Ball Lightning

    Ball Lightning

    When Chen’s parents are incinerated before his eyes by a blast of ball lightning, he devotes his life to cracking the secret of this mysterious natural phenomenon. His search takes him to stormy mountaintops, an experimental military weapons lab, and an old Soviet science station. The more he learns, the more he comes to realize that ball lightning is just the tip of an entirely new frontier. While Chen’s quest for answers gives purpose to his lonely life, it also pits him against soldiers and scientists with motives of their own: a beautiful army major with an obsession with dangerous weaponry, and a physicist who has no place for ethical considerations in his single-minded pursuit of knowledge. (8/14)

     
  • The cover of the book Connect

    Connect

    A Novel

    In the Nevada desert, in the near future, a family crisis sets off a chain reaction that threatens to bring the networked world to its knees. It starts in the home of Naomi Chiang, a biologist and single mother struggling to balance her research with looking after her painfully awkward, homeschooled, ever-growing teenage son, Colt. Naomi worries about him constantly—he’s so socially inept that he struggles to order takeout pizza—but then she has a major breakthrough at the lab that could change their lives, and America’s future. For his part, Colt seems focused on one thing only: a globe-spanning immersive gameworld in which his phenomenal coding skills set him apart. But after his first real-life romantic encounter goes awry, he realizes mastery of a virtual existence is not enough. When Colt secretly releases his mother’s latest findings, Naomi’s worst fears come true. Colt’s estranged father crashes into their lives again, backed by the secretive security organization he heads. The U.S. government wants Naomi’s research . . . and Colt, who must leave the comfort of virtual reality to discover the pleasures, and pains, of a life fully lived. Meanwhile, Naomi has to decide how far she would go to protect her child. Would she kill a man? Would she destroy the world? (8/14)

     
  • The cover of the book The Moons of Barsk

    The Moons of Barsk

    Pizlo, the lonely young outcast and physically-challenged Fant, is now a teenager. He still believes he hears voices from the planet’s moons, imparting secret knowledge to him alone. And so embarks on a dangerous voyage to learn the truth behind the messages. His quest will catapult him offworld for second time in his short life, and reveal things the galaxy isn’t yet ready to know. Elsewhere, Barsk’s Senator Jorl, who can speak with the dead, navigates galactic politics as Barsk’s unwelcome representative, and digs even deeper into the past than ever before to discover new truths of his own. (8/14)

     
  • The cover of the book Severance

    Severance

    Candace Chen, a millennial drone self-sequestered in a Manhattan office tower, is devoted to routine. With the recent passing of her Chinese immigrant parents, she’s had her fill of uncertainty. She’s content just to carry on: She goes to work, troubleshoots the teen-targeted Gemstone Bible, watches movies in a Greenpoint basement with her boyfriend. So Candace barely notices when a plague of biblical proportions sweeps New York. Then Shen Fever spreads. Families flee. Companies cease operations. The subways screech to a halt. Her bosses enlist her as part of a dwindling skeleton crew with a big end-date payoff. Soon entirely alone, still unfevered, she photographs the eerie, abandoned city as the anonymous blogger NY Ghost. (8/14)

     
  • The cover of the book Noumenon Infinity

    Noumenon Infinity

    Generations ago, Convoy Seven and I.C.C. left Earth on a mission that would take them far beyond the solar system. Launched by the Planet United Consortium, a global group formed to pursue cooperative Earth-wide interests in deep space, nine ships headed into the unknown to explore a distant star called LQ Pyx. Eons later, the convoy has returned to LQ Pyx to begin work on the Web, the alien megastructure that covers the star. Is it a Dyson Sphere, designed to power a civilization as everyone believes—or something far more sinister? (8/14)

     
  • The cover of the book Stars Uncharted

    Stars Uncharted

    On this space jump, no one is who they seem . . . Captain Hammond Roystan is a simple cargo runner who has stumbled across the find of a lifetime: the Hassim, a disabled exploration ship–and its valuable record of unexplored worlds. His junior engineer, Josune Arriola, said her last assignment was in the uncharted rim. But she is decked out in high-level bioware that belies her humble backstory. A renowned body-modification artist, Nika Rik Terri has run afoul of clients who will not take no for an answer. She has to flee off-world, and she is dragging along a rookie modder, who seems all too experienced in weapons and war . . . (8/14)

     
  • The cover of the book Wild Hunger

    Wild Hunger

    As the only vampire child ever born, some believed Elisa Sullivan had all the luck. But the magic that helped bring her into the world left her with a dark secret. Shifter Connor Keene, the only son of North American Central Pack Apex Gabriel Keene, is the only one she trusts with it. But she’s a vampire and the daughter of a Master and a Sentinel, and he’s prince of the Pack and its future king. When the assassination of a diplomat brings old feuds to the fore again, Elisa and Connor must choose between love and family, between honor and obligation, before Chicago disappears forever. (8/14)

     
  • The cover of the book The Black God’s Drums

    The Black God’s Drums

    In an alternate New Orleans caught in the tangle of the American Civil War, the wall-scaling girl named Creeper yearns to escape the streets for the air–in particular, by earning a spot on-board the airship Midnight Robber. Creeper plans to earn Captain Ann-Marie’s trust with information she discovers about a Haitian scientist and a mysterious weapon he calls The Black God’s Drums. But Creeper also has a secret herself: Oya, the African orisha of the wind and storms, speaks inside her head, and may have her own ulterior motivations. (8/21)

     
  • The cover of the book Coldfall Wood

    Coldfall Wood

    Every legend promises the same thing: at the time of the land’s greatest need the heroes shall return. What they don’t mention is that we are the greatest threat our green and pleasant land has ever known, or that our obsession with concrete and steel, with technology and advancement, is slowly killing the land. In the legends saving the land never involves the slaughter of its inhabitants. Legends lie. In the last primeval woodland of London an ancient force stirs, issuing the call. (8/21)

     
  • The cover of the book The Fated Sky

    The Fated Sky

    Mary Robinette Kowal continues the grand sweep of alternate history begun in The Calculating Stars, The Fated Sky looks forward to 1961, when mankind is well-established on the moon and looking forward to its next step: journeying to, and eventually colonizing, Mars. Of course the noted Lady Astronaut Elma York would like to go, but there’s a lot riding on whoever the International Aerospace Coalition decides to send on this historic—but potentially very dangerous—mission? Could Elma really leave behind her husband and the chance to start a family to spend several years traveling to Mars? And with the Civil Rights movement taking hold all over Earth, will the astronaut pool ever be allowed to catch up, and will these brave men and women of all races be treated equitably when they get there? This gripping look at the real conflicts behind a fantastical space race will put a new spin on our visions of what might have been. (8/21)

     
  • The cover of the book Foundryside

    Foundryside

    A Novel

    Sancia Grado is a thief, and a damn good one. And her latest target, a heavily guarded warehouse on Tevanne’s docks, is nothing her unique abilities can’t handle. But unbeknownst to her, Sancia’s been sent to steal an artifact of unimaginable power, an object that could revolutionize the magical technology known as scriving. The Merchant Houses who control this magic–the art of using coded commands to imbue everyday objects with sentience–have already used it to transform Tevanne into a vast, remorseless capitalist machine. But if they can unlock the artifact’s secrets, they will rewrite the world itself to suit their aims. (8/21)

     
  • The cover of the book The Million

    The Million

    Every thirty years, ten billion visitors overrun Earth during one month of madness: partying, polluting, and brawling. In between, the world is ruled by the Million; the inheritors and custodians of all of humanity’s wealth and history, they lead unimaginable lives of privilege and wealth, and they see it as their due. Gavin Penn-of-Chaffee is an illegal child—a visitor hidden among the Million. When the family that raised him in secret is torn apart, Gavin must impersonate a dead boy to survive. What he doesn’t know is that his new identity is expected at the School of Auditors—the Million’s feared police force, sworn to find and capture outcasts like him to keep the peace. In order to solve the murder of his adoptive father, Gavin must keep his disguise and his wits intact within the stronghold of those threatened by his very existence. (8/21)

     
  • The cover of the book Ravencry

    Ravencry

    Ryhalt Galharrow is a blackwing–a bounty hunter who seeks out and turns over any man, woman, or child who has been compromised by the immortals known as the Deep Kings. Four years have passed since he helped drive the Deep Kings back across the Misery. But new and darker forces are rising against the republic… (8/21)

     
  • The cover of the book The Stars Now Unclaimed

    The Stars Now Unclaimed

    Jane Kamali is an agent for the Justified. Her mission: to recruit children with miraculous gifts in the hope that they might prevent the Pulse from once again sending countless worlds back to the dark ages. Hot on her trail is the Pax–a collection of fascist zealots who believe they are the rightful rulers of the galaxy and who remain untouched by the Pulse. Now Jane, a handful of comrades from her past, and a telekinetic girl called Esa must fight their way through a galaxy full of dangerous conflicts, remnants of ancient technology, and other hidden dangers. And that’s just the beginning. (8/21) 

     
  • The cover of the book Vox

    Vox

    On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed more than one hundred words per day, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial. This can’t happen here. Not in America. Not to her. This is just the beginning… Soon women are not permitted to hold jobs. Girls are not taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words each day, but now women have only one hundred to make themselves heard. For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice. (8/21)

     
  • The cover of the book Bitwise

    Bitwise

    A Life in Code

    Bitwise is a wondrous ode to the computer lan­guages and codes that captured technologist David Auerbach’s imagination. With a philoso­pher’s sense of inquiry, Auerbach recounts his childhood spent drawing ferns with the pro­gramming language Logo on the Apple IIe, his adventures in early text-based video games, his education as an engineer, and his contribu­tions to instant messaging technology devel­oped for Microsoft and the servers powering Google’s data stores. A lifelong student of the systems that shape our lives—from the psy­chiatric taxonomy of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual to how Facebook tracks and profiles its users—Auerbach reflects on how he has experienced the algorithms that taxonomize human speech, knowledge, and behavior and that compel us to do the same. (8/28)

     
  • The cover of the book Hollywood Dead

    Hollywood Dead

    James Stark is back from Hell, trailing more trouble in his wake. To return to L.A., he had to make a deal with the evil power brokers, Wormwood—an arrangement that came with a catch. While he may be home, Stark isn’t quite himself . . . because he’s only partially alive. There’s a time limit on his reanimated body, and unless Stark can find the people targeting Wormwood, he will die again—and this time there will be no coming back. Even though he’s armed with the Room of Thirteen Doors, Stark knows he can’t find Wormwood’s enemies alone. To succeed he’s got to enlist the help of new friends—plus a few unexpected old faces. (8/28)

     
  • The cover of the book Mirage

    Mirage

    In a world dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated home. But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place. (8/28)

     
  • The cover of the book Stygian

    Stygian

    Born before man recorded time, I lived for thousands of years believing myself to be something I’m not. Lied to and betrayed by gods, Daimons and Dark-Hunters, I’ve struggled to find my way in a world where I’ve been cursed since the moment I was prematurely ripped from my mother and planted into the womb of an innocent woman who thought me her son. Trained as a slayer and predator, I learned to fit in and stay low. To become a tool for evil. Until I was sent to kill the one woman I couldn’t. My hesitation cost her her life. Or so I thought. In an act of betrayal that makes all the others pale in comparison, I’ve learned that this world is an illusion and that my Phoebe still lives. (8/28)